Monday, May 30, 2011

Akihabara in the evening

Usually I don't stay in Akihabara after 5pm, but I was so bored in my city that I came here to look around. It was Sunday evening, and people here were going home to prepare for Monday.

 The entrance of JR Akihabara station. It was raining occasionally, as we entered the rainy season last week.

Usually this Gundam Cafe is very crowded but if you can stay in Tokyo around this time, you wouldn't be kept waiting.

Yodobashi-Akiba building. Most of the electronics are the same prices as the ones on the Net.  

And it seemed anime fans who owned "Itasha" were getting together in Akihabara. I saw at least 10 Itasha on the streets. I was so glad to see a Rozen Maiden Itasha =) 

Can you see that about a half of the lights are turned off? The earthquake hit a nuclear power plant in Fukushima, so the utility company TEPCO is suggesting companies save electricity. 

You can walk down the streets of Akihabara in the night without security concern. But still it is desirable for anyone to be accompanied by a friend or two at least.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

K-ON Coffee!!

I do know a fan of Japan isn't necessarily a fan of anime. But when you get in a bookstore in Japan, you'd notice there are so many piles of anime magazines and manga. I grew up watching anime, but there are so many series these days that even I get confused.

There is a convenience store in Japan that is called "LAWSON", and it was selling K-ON related merchandises until the last Monday. You can click this, and see it's advertising K-ON. And I got this coffee just to show you.  

I was embarrassed when I showed this to a clerk to buy. Even though K-ON is as successful as Lucky Star or Haruhi, I doubt it's known to many Japanese people. You can download K-ON voice ringtones by visiting the URL on the cup, but the site requires certain procedure that would be too complicating to understand for non-native speakers.

Sorry if you don't know much about Japanese anime. The taste of the coffee was way below my standards....>.<

Friday, May 20, 2011

Yasukuni Shrine

Do you know it's controversial for a prime minister to visit a shrine in Ichigaya of Tokyo? It enshrines soldiers who sacrificed themselves during the World War 2 and some other wars, but what makes some people offended by the visit is the fact it also enshrines class-A war criminals like Hideki Tojo. He was the 40th prime minister (1941-1944) when the Pacific War broke out.

 Of course I read newspaper everyday, but I've avoided political topics on this blog. It's mainly because I'm not so versed in Japanese politics. And because I want readers of my blog to have fun while reading. But as a Japanese I thought I should visit this shrine. This was a signboard of a signal that said "The south gate of Yasukuni Shrine". 

 From what I read, I suppose prime ministers didn't go in from this gate, but from another gate possibly in the east of the shrine. 

 I saw some foreign people, and not surprisingly Japanese people who seemed to be very patriotic. It was incredible that there was a place in the heart of Tokyo where you could feel peaceful.

 This is called "Haiden", and it's a place where people offer a prayer. It was built in 1901, and a must-visit building when you come here. 

There was a museum that displayed the history of the wars Japan waged, whose name was "Yu-Shu-Kan". This statue of a solider had a name, and if I were to translate it, it would be "Never to look back".

 Some people would associate the past Japanese military with a Zero Fighter. This was also in  Yu-Shu-Kan, and I thought it was a life-size model. Suicide attackers "Kamikaze" got in this cockpit as you might know. 

You cannot only see around this shrine, but you can "experience" something from the wars. At the upper left of the menu of a restaurant in Yu-Shu-Kan you can see "´╝┤he Navy curry", and it recreates the curry that is the same as the one from the wartime. 

When August 15 approaches, you'd notice Japanese newspapers are reporting whether the prime minister is going to visit this shrine. It's a magnificent shrine in size, but it has a political side as well.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Cafe MOCO in Akihabara

One of the reasons why I go to Akihabara is having Ramen, but the Ramen shop I was going to visit yesterday was so crowded that my friend and I had lunch at a cafe that is pretty well-known among people who like Akihabara.

 Let me show you one of the TX gates. TX is a line that connects Ibaraki with Akihabara. And on this day I recognized it was decorated in a pretty way. Do you like it?

 And this is the entrance of Cafe MOCO. I came to this cafe years ago, but then I had coffee only, and sandwiches weren't served here.

 One thing I like about this Cafe is it is frequented by guys. I'm straight, but when a cafe is full of girls, I feel uneasy.

 And this was the hot dog I ordered. It was baked with cheese and some tomato. The yellow pieces on the hot dog are potato chips. 

And while I was walking down the street of Akihabara, I saw this really weird thing. The mannequin was wearing the same uniform as Evangelion, and the head was covered with a Pikachu. It was advertising a figurine shop. Again I ask, DO YOU LIKE IT?

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Tokyo is still enjoyable! -2-

As I was on vacation during this "Golden Week", I decided to go to Tokyo to have some fun. It was reported the number of people who go overseas is smaller than the last year because of the psychological effect of the earthquake, so people went on a domestic trip, which should be the reason why I saw many people in Tokyo.

As usual, I had searched for a good Ramen shop in Akihabara, and a blog said this "Fukunokami" Ramen shop was really good. The meaning of Fukunokami would be "God of Fortune".

 Every time I try a new Ramen I encounter a good one. The soup as you can see was very light, but the sliced pork (called "Chaashuu") had a thick soy sauce taste. I could have had a few more slices.

A friend of mine suggested I go to "Tokyo Midtown" to see what it was like. It's a huge complex where very expensive restaurants and clothes shops are housed. This pic was taken from the outside. One feature of this complex is it is in harmony with greenery.

 A pic taken from the first floor. The trees in the center are bamboos. It wasn't crowded at all.

 A musical event was being held in the garden of Tokyo Midtown. A staffer told me to refrain from taking any pics of the musicians, so I took those food stalls. Anyone who can understand the German on the right stall? 

And this Japanese garden was another property of this complex. The friend told me it would seem surreal to sit in a garden like this in the middle of Tokyo, but I wasn't impressed at all, as I like the streets of Akihabara where unique and inexpensive shops concentrate in one area. 

I went to Shinjuku as well, and saw this truck whose container was painted with this Korean magazine ad. Recently Korean entertainment like "Shoujo Jidai" has been featured in Japanese music programs. 

Did those pic make you interested in Tokyo or Japan? I hope you make a trip to my country once this unusual circumstance is rectified.  

Monday, May 2, 2011

Miya (A Steak House)

Let me show you a steak house that is very popular in my area. Its name is "Miya", and it has three outlets in my neighborhood. When I was a child, steak was considered one of the most expensive dishes, and my family used to dine here on a special occasion.

 We're now in the middle of what we call "Golden week" when we have a long vacation, and those who decided to rest on May 2, and 6 will have 10 consecutive holidays. I played tennis on the weekend and after that I had steak for dinner.

 5 years ago or earlier, the interior was like that of a family restaurant like COCO's, but as you can see the seat was dimly lit. We could relax comfortably and what's more the waitresses were very polite and professional.

 If you order a piece of steak as a set, you can have salad, soup and soft drinks as well. The soup had tomato as the main ingredient.

I think America is the best country where you can have very good steak because I had a good one when I was in San Francisco. But I suppose the steak of Miya would be liked by Americans too. The steak had a good amount of fat and the texture was very soft. The sauce had vinegar and ground onion. It is called "Miya-dare". "Dare" or "tare" means "sauce". And the small round plate is where you can reheat your steak. 

When I turn on TV, I still see news on the earthquake and its aftermath, but I'm honestly beginning to forget its seriousness. Whether it's right or wrong, people should move on.